To our valued customers,
As you are aware, 2021 was a year of extraordinary circumstances for label raw material supplies. The fallout from COVID-19 and the worldwide supply disruptions that began in earnest in 2021 continues to have significant impact on our supply chain.
We entered the new year hopeful that improvements in our supply chain would soon follow. However, a union strike at UPM pulp and paper mills in Finland began on January 1 and quickly tempered any optimism. The strike could not have come at a worse time. Combined with the effects of the COVID pandemic, the February 2021 power outages in the Texas, labor storages, transportation and logistics issues and the surging demand for label products, the strike made a bad situation even worse.
Our vendors announced order restrictions and moratoriums on new business for now. Lead times of about one-week pre-COVID now take eight to 20 weeks. We no longer receive a committed ship date from our vendors when we place an order.
There is good news. UPM and the Paperworkers’ Union reached an agreement to end the strike on April 22 and return to work. But the damage to our industry’s supply chain will take time to be repaired. Industry experts expect that it will take upwards to one year for measurable impacts to the supply chain.
Our priority is to work persistently to meet all your requirements. But currently, we have limited control over material availability and lead times. We will work to source materials as quickly as possible and supply alternative solutions when possible but please understand the current environment we are in and allow for longer lead times.
Thank you for your support and continued business.
J. Alan Thompson
Tech Tag & Label